tv Inside Story Al Jazeera October 12, 2013 5:00pm-5:31pm EDT
>> this is al jazeera america live from new york city, i'm thomas drayton with a look at today's top stories. in washington there is no end in sight to the budget struggle. senate rejected the bill to temporarily fund the government. some of america's iconic national monuments are opening again despite the government shut down. the statue of liberty and the grand canyon and mt. rushmore.
more talks about the future of u.s. troops in afghanistan today. secretary of state john kerry and afghan president hamid karzai are trying to hammer out an agreement about american troops staying in afghanistan, after the pullout next year. millions are at risk in india as the monster storm known as phailin has struck. the eye of the storm has now made landfall. evacuating hundreds of thousands of people from the area. phailin is size of france four times the size of hurricane katrina.
>> obama: we're bothed pleased there is an possibility of finally getting chemical weapon stock piles out of syria. but i think we both share deep concern that we have to be able to verify and enforce what has now been agreed to as the united nations. chemical weapons inside of syria obviously threaten syrian civilians but over long term pose a threat to israel. we want to make sure that we get those indiscriminate horrible weapons out of there. >> that was president obama while hosting israel's prime
minister benjamin netanyahu moon monday in the oval office. here to speak with us, ambassador documented the use of chemical weapons in iraq in 1988 for the senate foreign relations committee. ambassador, if i can start with you, what does it mean for the region if syria is successfully disarmed? >> well, it clearly is a passtive development to --positive development to eliminate these weapons. in terms of regional security, i don't think it makes a great deal
of difference. these weapons were not --the real beneficiaries of syrian disarmament are the global ban on chemical weapons because now there are very few countries have them with syria signing up, and the syrian people because once these weapons are gone they won't be a threat to the syrian people. that's really the main use of these weapons, is against insurgents. >> in terms of--as the ambassador said, there has been this strategic where these weapons have been seen as a bid by syria to hold at bay israel's weapons program. does israel in any way do you think feel more secure because these weapons are gone? >> i think marginally yes. there has always been a concern on the israeli part that these
source of weapons may be transferred within the region to hostile parties such as hezbollah or hamas. that's the only way they would be seen as . but now that they are out of the way, it's a positive balance. >> now to the possibility of openings with iran, these two things seem to be moving together. is there a relationship between syria's decision to own up to its chemical weapons, arsenal, and to disarm and to the seeming opening with iran? >> i'm not sure there is a direct relationship, although it's important to note that iran is one of the victims of saddam hussein's chemical weapons and the iranians do not view these weapons favorbly. but what can be said with certainty is that had the united
states gone ahead with a military action rather than having this diplomatic solution, it would have been much more difficult for president rouhani of iran to watch his diplomatic initiative which seems to offer such hopes. the fact that there is a resolution instead of a military response is a positive solution. >> the international community is dependent upon the continued good behavior, if you will, of the assad regime or of people close to the assad regime in order to carry this out. >> in a lot of ways its interesting. a lot of significant actors here have a vested interest in this process. first and foremost the united states and russia, but also as you said the assad regime. and this is why i actually think over all they're going comply for the most part with this disarmament process.
for them as well it is a way to stay engaged with the international development and international process. yes, implicitly it recognizes them as the sovereign power in syria or what's left of it. >> and ambassador, do you think for president assad, this represents in a funny kind of way sort of a life boat? >> i'm not sure if it's a life boat, but what he has done is get rid of weapons that he couldn't use because of the certainty of a strong international response. incidentally now there is no incentive for syria to cheat because while it could hide away the weapons, the moment they were brought out there would an strong and likely military response. but his position is clearly much stronger now. the rebels have been losing momentum. this is a significant diplomatic
triumph ant or syria, and the rebels have responded to these developments by moving in a radical way with a number of the groups linking up with the al-qaeda nus ra front. and the they would come out in support of the assad regime. >> we have about a minute left. in terms of the assad regime itself. it sounds like this was not a lot for them to give up. they seem to have gotten a lot basically in international terms here. what do you think happens going forward? obviously there was the threat of intervention, was that a significant threat in this instance? >> i think it posed--i think it was an unknown element for the regime, and it threw them off balance for a while. i wouldn't say that this has been a gift to them as such. i think they very narrowly
avoided a catastrophe of their own making. now that they know the bounds in which they are allowed to fight the war they can craft their actions accordingly and most likely avoid a significant western military response. >> and continuing huge numbers of civilian deaths. >> yes, that's the tactic of bombarding urban areas with artillery and airstrikes. >> and they've used fuel explosions in schools in northern syria. >> yes, it's quite documented. they've used them several times before. >> that's it from the team in washington, d.c. my thanks, from me, thanks for watching inside story. good night.